VFX SAG-AFTRA animation actors to strike for fair streaming pay

SAG-AFTRA animation actors to go on strike for fair pay in streaming services

Animation actors belonging to the SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) union is considering a strike over the refusal of employers to provide scale wages or residuals for streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon which are currently considered to be the fastest-growing area in animation.

More than 75 per cent of those voting for this, should approve the strike authorisation for SAG-AFTRA’s national board to authorise the strike by 16 July. The authorisation was sent to “affected members” around 1 July with the union scheduling informational meetings to be held in Los Angeles and New York on 10 July.

“Animation performers need the power of a strike authorization to avoid losing the hard-fought gains that generations of performers before them have struggled to win. That is why the National Board has unanimously recommended that you vote YES to authorize a strike, if necessary, of these agreements. A strike authorization does not mean that a strike will necessarily happen, but it gives animation performers an additional tool to negotiate their contracts,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris in a recent message to members.

She also noted in her message that performers have been working under TV animation agreements that expired on 30 June 2017 and that more than 20 animated series produced for initial exhibition on a subscription-based streaming platform have gone into production.

Carteris further added, “Because that work is not covered by the traditional terms of our TV animation agreements, our animation performers do not have the benefit of scale minimums when they work on these programs, the overwhelming majority of which will never pay residuals for any new media exhibition. In other words, when you go to work on an animated program made for new media, the producer can pay you as little as you are willing to accept and will likely be able to use the program on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, etc. for subscribers to view or customers to pay to download forever without ever paying you a residual.”

Gabrielle Carteris (Source: Variety)

The strike authorisation campaign has been approved by performers such as Pamela Adlon, Ed Asner, Nancy Cartwright, Dan Castellanata, Nick Kroll, Laraine Newman, Patton Oswalt, Cassandra Peterson and Mindy Sterling.

“Our animation performers are the most talented professionals in their field and they deserve professional terms and conditions when they work. Scale wages and residuals are what allow all of our members to sustain themselves in their careers. Producers should not expect our members to make contractual concessions to achieve a watered-down version of these standard terms. Only a demonstration of solidarity and resolve can change this result,” she concluded to Variety.